“The Sky Is Falling”
“The sky is falling . . . is an old fable about a chicken . . . who believes the sky is falling. The phrase, ‘The sky is falling,’ has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.”1
For at least 2,000 years numerous people have been convinced that the world is moving to a disastrous end. Now, in this postmodern world, “many are led to believe the end is near when they see the world in turmoil from natural disasters, political oppression, violent crime, spiritual lethargy, and moral depravity.”2
Views on the End of the World
Over the span of time, three principal views have emerged regarding the end of the world:
1. Millennial. Perhaps the most prevalent view is millennialism. “It espouses the idea that God will bring this world to an end and Jesus Christ will return from heaven to judge everyone who has ever lived, and with his chosen ones will initiate a kingdom that will be like Eden revisited.”3
2. Pastoral. The “pastoral interpretation has been favored by most churches for more than fifteen hundred years. It is pastoral because its message cares for people as vulnerable, mortal persons. Instead of preaching about a kingdom that is coming, its focus is on a church already here. Rather than stressing a long-delayed return of Christ, it emphasizes the way Christ has already come to those who believe in him. Instead of preparing for the world to end, it enables people to prepare for their own end.”4
3. Social. “There is also . . . a radically different . . . view of the future. As relevant to each person as the pastoral interpretation is, it does not address all human concerns. Some human needs demand social change, and one of the motivating forces for it in the past three centuries has been the promise of a new age in the here and now. Western civilization would not be what it is without the driving belief that the world can be changed in our time. We will therefore call this third paradigm the social interpretation, recognizing that, if the millennial interpretation finds its venue in a kingdom yet to come and the pastoral finds it in the church, this view finds it in society. It understands the end of the world to mean the end of society as we know it and the coming of a new order.”5
Jesus and the End of the World
The truth is that, in his suffering and death at Calvary, Jesus bore all the consequences of command, possession, power and “free process” that he had granted nature, life and humanity.6,7 Then he triumphantly rose from the dead and, for 2,000 years, has been unceasingly present (Matthew 28:20). Jesus has no intention of waging a final battle. He has no plan to install any religion as his solution. He has no ultimate interest in converting the existing social order.
Jesus simply purposes to appear, to raise all who have died, and to convene the judgment by revealing the truth of his pedagogical intentions, purposes and accomplishments.8 He will then transform this world into an eternal paradise of beauty, tranquility and love, where he and all others will enjoy creative and loving relationality as friends forever (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55; Revelation 21:1, 4-6; 22:5).9
Wise men, shepherds, and Simeon and Anna in the Temple, were representative witnesses who recognized Christ’s First Coming (Matthew 2:1, 2; Luke 2:8-21, 25-38). In anticipation of his promised Second Coming, let us now be representative witnesses to acknowledge him, his purposes, his accomplishments, and his gifts to all Creation (Acts 1:8; cf. Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1).
So the sky is not falling! Rather, it will soon openly disclose the Triumphant One!
- “The Sky is Falling (fable),” at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sky_Is_Falling_(fable). (go back)
- Reginald Stackhouse, The End of the World? A New Look at an Old Belief (New York: Paulist Press, 1997), p. 3. (go back)
- Ibid, p. 26. (go back)
- Ibid, p. 27. (go back)
- Ibid. (go back)
- “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. . . . [T]here is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” — Isaiah 45:6, 7, 21-23. (go back)
- See “The Gospel for the Postmodern World III: The ‘Other Side’ of God,” Outlook (January 2008); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ III: Command,” Outlook (December 2009); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ IV: Possession,” Outlook (January 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VI: Empowerment,” Outlook (March 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VIII: The Incarnate God,” Outlook (May 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ IX: ‘I AM’ with ‘You,’” Outlook (June 2010). (go back)
- “With the possible exception of justice, peace is the most exalted ideal of the rabbis of the Talmud. No words of praise are too exaggerated to emphasize the importance of this ideal. On the statement of Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, ‘By three things the world is preserved, by truth, by judgment, and by peace’ (Avot 1:18), the Talmud declares that they are in effect one, since ‘if judgment is executed, truth is vindicated, and peace prevails’ (TJ. Ta’an. 4:2, 68a).” — Encyclopaedia Judaica, CD-ROM ed. (1997), s.v. Louis Isaac Rabinowitz, “Peace: In the Talmud.” (go back)
- See “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ X: The Second Coming,” Outlook (July 2010). (go back)
Last Revised September 2011